West Africa Regional Trade
Year Completed: 2005
As technical advisor to USAID and ECOWAS, IBI assisted the ECOWAS Secretariat and the national coordinating committees within each country to develop, adopt, and implement a strategic plan for establishing a Common External Tariff (CET). The formulation of the strategic plan was supplemented by studies on rules and regulations governing the cross-border flow of goods within the community, including thorough assessments of customs policies and regulations across member states. IBI assisted the establishment of national coordinating committees in each country, facilitating national-level workshops for relevant stakeholders in the member states. With IBI’s technical assistance workshops, participants considered and approved national level action plans and a strategy for implementing the CET. This included creating relevant background studies and organizing public consultation sessions. IBI also advised each national coordinating committee on draft legislation for adopting the CET.
IBI worked with key stakeholders in each country including national chambers of commerce, industry, and agriculture; professional associations; and business organizations. IBI assisted these groups in assessing the current trade environment and considering trade policy improvements through the adoption of the CET. Discussions and study groups focused on macro-level improvements in trade policy and customs regulations as well as micro-level assessments and analyses of transaction costs originating from inefficiencies and lack of harmonization in rules and procedures regulating the transportation of goods across borders.